Rangel: Seize wealth because rich don’t fight for our country, or something

posted at 5:25 pm on October 26, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Sounds like something out of Starship Troopers, doesn’t it?  According to Charlie Rangel, the US should seize wealth and redistribute it because, er, only poor people have been fighting the wars over the last ten years:

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) on Wednesday called for the redistribution of America’s riches and hammered the wealthy for benefitting from a war effort fought by the poor and middle class. …

Rangel offered no specific remedy for adjusting those figures during his comments on the House floor, but argued further that the wealthiest one percent have the added benefit of not needing to get involved in military service.

“Why is it that we know, or that we can suspect, that in this war where we lost so many lives, that so many people have been wounded, that our brave men and women coming home will subject themselves with a lack of funds to deal with their physical or mental problems?” he asked. “Any yet we somehow know that that 1 percent was not involved in defending our great nation.”

“We can almost know without any investigation that the wealthiest of Americans never found themselves protecting our flag,” he added.

Well, we can “know” a lot of things without any investigation, and apparently Rangel is the Dean of the No-Research Assumptions School of Political Rhetoric. Even aside from that, though, is this strange accusation in a nation with an all-volunteer military.  No one gets drafted into service, since the draft ended decades ago.  The people fighting this war have all volunteered for service — and most of those who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq volunteered after the wars had already begun.

A funny thing happens when one really does start investigating the question, though.  As it turns out, the poor were actually underrepresented in enlistments, as a 2006 Heritage Foundation study determined:

Indeed, in many criteria, each year shows advancement, not decline, in measurable qualities of new enlistees. For example, it is commonly claimed that the military relies on recruits from poorer neighborhoods because the wealthy will not risk death in war. This claim has been advanced without any rigorous evidence. Our review of Pentagon enlistee data shows that the only group that is lowering its participation in the military is the poor. The percentage of recruits from the poorest American neighborhoods (with one-fifth of the U.S. population) declined from 18 percent in 1999 to 14.6 percent in 2003, 14.1 percent in 2004, and 13.7 percent in 2005.

This report updates the previous Heritage Foundation report, with data on all U.S. recruits during 2004 and 2005. We introduce the term “wartime recruits” to identify volunteer enlistees in all branches during 2003, 2004, and 2005. …

In summary, the additional years of recruit data (2004-2005) support the previous finding that U.S. military recruits are more similar than dissimilar to the American youth population. The slight differences are that wartime U.S. military enlistees are better educated, wealthier, and more rural on average than their civilian peers.

Recruits have a higher percentage of high school graduates and representation from Southern and rural areas. No evidence indicates exploitation of racial minorities (either by race or by race-weighted ZIP code areas). Finally, the distribution of household income of recruits is noticeably higher than that of the entire youth population.

The charts on the website are non-functional, but the PDF of the full report is still available.  This is the clearest demonstration of Heritage’s findings, where positive numbers show enlistments from zip codes in various average-income brackets exceeding the distribution of the general American population:

Heritage Foundation, enlistment, class warfare

As can be seen in this graph, it’s the lower-income areas that are underrespresented in the volunteer forces, by wide margins.  The middle class is significantly overrepresented.  The distribution among those making more than $100K a year is also off, but by about 0.2% difference from the normal population distribution.  Once you get above the $70K per year mark, the ration of distribution of enlistees to the general population is almost equal.

In case Rangel tries to play the race card, Heritage has data on that as well:

According to the 2004 Census ACS, 75.6 percent of the national adult population self-identifies as belonging to the racial category white alone. In both 2004 and 2005, 73.1 percent of recruits were classified as white alone. This indicates a recruit-to-population ratio of 0.97, with 1.00 indicating an exact proportional representation. (See Table 4.)  Whites are the most proportionally represented racial group among recruits. Excluding the group of a combination of two or more races, minority representation varies between being moderately proportional to extremely disproportional. The most overrepresented group is Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, with a ratio of 7.49 in 2005, or an overrepresentation of 649 percent. The Asian category is the most underrepresented group, with a ratio of 0.69 in 2005.

Similar ratios appear in the proportional representation of racial groups among Army recruits in both 2004 and 2005, with the exception that blacks are more proportionally represented among 2005 Army recruits than they are in the total recruit population. The change in proportional representation of blacks among military recruits is a notable change from the 2003 cohort to the 2004 and 2005 cohorts. In the last three quarters of the 2003 recruit year, blacks were largely overrepresented, with a recruit-to-population ratio of 1.32 among all recruits and 1.44 among Army recruits. For 2004, these ratios were 1.19 and 1.17, respectively. In 2005, they were 1.07 and 0.96, respectively, which indicates that in the past two years of military recruits, the proportion of blacks in the military approached the proportion of blacks in the population.

This is just another form of class warfare, of course, a way for Rangel to demonize the wealthy by attacking their patriotism.  As with most such demagogic efforts, it turns out to be a dud once it’s tossed.  Perhaps instead of loudly celebrating his ignorance, Rangel would be better served by actually checking his assumptions before proclaiming them as fact.  Or better yet, maybe he should just retire.

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The back lash in 2012 against the dimswits will be historic.

grapeknutz on October 26, 2011 at 5:29 PM

How much is Charlie worth?

listens2glenn on October 26, 2011 at 5:29 PM

How does someone like Rangel say stuff like this with a straight face? It’s mind-boggling.

JetBoy on October 26, 2011 at 5:29 PM

Term limits..!

d1carter on October 26, 2011 at 5:32 PM

can we now please use the term kleptocrat…as in: ‘Charlie Rangle (kleptocrat, NY) has called for more Obama love today’

r keller on October 26, 2011 at 5:32 PM

stop with the facts, charts, and reality, they have left wing dogma!

rob verdi on October 26, 2011 at 5:32 PM

Mr. Rangel, while I thank you for your service in Korea – you are being intellectually dishonest.

theflyonthewall on October 26, 2011 at 5:33 PM

Tell that to Pat Tillman.

The Notorious G.O.P on October 26, 2011 at 5:33 PM

“We can almost know without any investigation that the wealthiest of Americans never found themselves protecting our flag,” he added.

 
Because paying for the tanks and jets and bullets doesn’t count.

rogerb on October 26, 2011 at 5:34 PM

Seize and redistribute Charlies rent controlled apartments.

rbj on October 26, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Charlie wants a draft so bad he can taste it, because he thinks it is heaven for race baiters and class warfarists. Shame he can’t use Google.

a capella on October 26, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Photo Caption:

“Liberal Ambition”

BobMbx on October 26, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Tell that to Pat Tillman.

The Notorious G.O.P on October 26, 2011 at 5:33 PM

Yeah.

: O

listens2glenn on October 26, 2011 at 5:36 PM

As it turns out, the poor were actually underrepresented in enlistments,

The poor were also underrepresented during Vietnam for that matter. They probably were during WWII also.

InkyBinkyBarleyBoo on October 26, 2011 at 5:37 PM

How much is Charlie worth?

listens2glenn on October 26, 2011 at 5:29 PM

Do you mean financially or as a human being?

The answers are wildly divergent.

BobMbx on October 26, 2011 at 5:38 PM

This is typical liberal thinking. To a liberal it is unimaginable to serve your country so they naturally think that only the poor sign up for the military. Being a patriot and serving the U.S.A. is so far out of the realm of thinking for your typical liberal that is why they come to these conclusions. They don’t realize some people actually love America and want to serve it.

The Notorious G.O.P on October 26, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Thanks, Ed. You reminded me of this from Ann Marlowe at the Wall Street Journal:

In 2008, using data provided by the Defense Department, the Heritage Foundation found that only 11% of enlisted military recruits in 2007 came from the poorest one-fifth, or quintile, of American neighborhoods (as of the 2000 Census), while 25% came from the wealthiest quintile. Heritage reported that “these trends are even more pronounced in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, in which 40% of enrollees come from the wealthiest neighborhoods, a number that has increased substantially over the past four years.

Delta Tango on October 26, 2011 at 5:40 PM

As can be seen in this graph, it’s the lower-income areas that are underrespresented in the volunteer forces, by wide margins. The middle class is significantly overrepresented.

It makes sense to me that the type of person who does not participate enthusiastically in the open economy would also not participate in activities like becoming a soldier. It’s the individual’s character that plays a significant, maybe even dominant, role in the level of success in both activities.

Socratease on October 26, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Tell that to Pat Tillman.

The Notorious G.O.P on October 26, 2011 at 5:33 PM

My thoughts exactly.

Hog Wild on October 26, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Do you mean financially or as a human being?

The answers are wildly divergent.

BobMbx on October 26, 2011 at 5:38 PM

: )

listens2glenn on October 26, 2011 at 5:41 PM

How does someone like Rangel say stuff like this with a straight face?

JetBoy on October 26, 2011 at 5:29 PM

Practice.

hillbillyjim on October 26, 2011 at 5:44 PM

This is typical liberal thinking. To a liberal it is unimaginable to serve your country so they naturally think that only the poor sign up for the military. Being a patriot and serving the U.S.A. is so far out of the realm of thinking for your typical liberal that is why they come to these conclusions. They don’t realize some people actually love America and want to serve it.

Liberals think largely by projection. Volunteering isn’t something they’d do, so they can’t understand someone who would out of any reason other than necessity. Just like all the dirty tricks they accuse conservatives of doing because they would have in the same position, the accusations of racism, of personal irresponsibility, etc.

Socratease on October 26, 2011 at 5:44 PM

Of all those who served in Vietnam, 10.6%, were black. At the time of the Vietnam War, Blacks represented approximately 12.5% of the total U.S. military age population. So Black were significantly ‘underrepresented’.

InkyBinkyBarleyBoo on October 26, 2011 at 5:46 PM

This clown has been pounding this horse for years. It just doesn’t hold water.

Hummer53 on October 26, 2011 at 5:46 PM

One thing Rangel glossed over is that the US Military recruiting standards are actually set above the level where the poor would qualify on the basis of education, credit, and ability to pass the entrance exams.

To the point where at least once in the last ten years they have had to lower their standards because they came in below recruitment goals

theflyonthewall on October 26, 2011 at 5:48 PM

I sure met some very wealthy Pvt’s in my 33 years in the Army.

docflash on October 26, 2011 at 5:48 PM

I’m completely content to have the people of NY 15 represented by Rangel. They continue to re-elect him. They deserve him.

SlaveDog on October 26, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Of all those who served in Vietnam, 10.6%, were black. At the time of the Vietnam War, Blacks represented approximately 12.5% of the total U.S. military age population. So Black were significantly ‘underrepresented’.

InkyBinkyBarleyBoo on October 26, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Raaaaaaaacist.

BobMbx on October 26, 2011 at 5:49 PM

ep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) on Wednesday called for the redistribution of America’s riches and hammered the wealthy for benefitting from a war effort fought by the poor and middle class. …

Rangel offered no specific remedy for adjusting those figures during his comments on the House floor, but argued further that the wealthiest one percent have the added benefit of not needing to get involved in military service.

OK, sleepyhead, and with your wealth and no-I-won’t-pay-taxes attitude, I’d say you are certainly part of that heinous 1 %.

chai on October 26, 2011 at 5:51 PM

That picture is effing hilarious, and very telling.

txag92 on October 26, 2011 at 5:52 PM

Rangel has insulted veterans in every way possible. I’m a retired Vietnam combat veteran. I’m not sure what % I’m in, but I retired comfortably at 61. Rangel implies that veterans are stupid or something. Most of the veterans I know have the intelligence to not only survive in combat, but to excel in life!

Star20 on October 26, 2011 at 5:52 PM

Isabelle Sanford is not aging well.

trubble on October 26, 2011 at 5:52 PM

Myth: The war was fought largely by the poor and uneducated.
Servicemen who went to Vietnam from well-to-do areas had a slightly elevated risk of dying because they were more likely to be pilots or infantry officers or artillery FOs. Vietnam Veterans were the best educated forces our nation had ever sent into combat. 79% had a high school education or better. [McCaffrey]

InkyBinkyBarleyBoo on October 26, 2011 at 5:53 PM

How does someone like Rangel say stuff like this with a straight face?

Too much time sleeping on the beach under a hot sun…

karl9000 on October 26, 2011 at 5:56 PM

Rangel offered no specific remedy for adjusting those figures during his comments on the House floor . . . . . . . . .

Wasn’t he one of a small group who campaigned hard (and loud) a few years ago for a return to a military service draft?

listens2glenn on October 26, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Did he ever pay the taxes and penalty fees he owes?

albill on October 26, 2011 at 5:59 PM

Judging by the photo, Rangel is just made to be the Great White Father of OWS. He really zzzzzzzzzzs.

IlikedAUH2O on October 26, 2011 at 5:59 PM

I don’t think that DC knows exactly what it is going to face in 2012.

This is one of the many DC poster children of graft and sloth; a pitiful, shameless fool that represents 99% of Congress.

I guess we could start our own 1% movement. We, the “Governed” are the 1%. You can tie the rest of the 99% back to wall street and Congress.

Key West Reader on October 26, 2011 at 6:04 PM

That poor, poor chicken.

carbon_footprint on October 26, 2011 at 6:10 PM

From June of 2006

Wal-Mart heir John Walton, who died in the crash of his ultralight aircraft Monday, is being remembered as a friendly man who threw his considerable financial support behind efforts to educate low-income children.

John Walton was an Army veteran who served with the Green Berets as a medic during the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Silver Star for saving the lives of several members of his unit while under enemy fire, according to the company.

In March, Forbes magazine listed John Walton as No. 11 on its list of the world’s richest people with a net worth of $18.2 billion.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2005-06-27-walton-plane-crash_x.htm

Mr Snuggle Bunny on October 26, 2011 at 6:19 PM

That’s who I’d want on my side if I were a protester! A sleazy opportunist, liar, and tax cheat!

scalleywag on October 26, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Rangel is a sad person..:)

Dire Straits on October 26, 2011 at 6:29 PM

***********I’d like to point out that Rangel proposed a bill to reinstate the draft, then voted against it****************

Black Adam on October 26, 2011 at 6:45 PM

Rangel doesn’t have to get the story or the facts straight. The IDIOTS who elected him will believe anything he says.

GarandFan on October 26, 2011 at 7:02 PM

Someone tell that corrupt old drafted bastard that Congress today proportionally reflects the percentage of US Citizens who serve(d) in this modern volunteer era.
And while they’re at it, kick his criminal ass off the Tax committee. He’s squatted there for decades and has done more than enough damage to this nation already.

rayra on October 26, 2011 at 7:11 PM

This clown has been pounding this horse for years. It just doesn’t hold water.

Hummer53 on October 26, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Living on a farm, although I don’t have horses, if they are like cows, they don’t hold a lot of water. So, with the purpose of keeping me informed, can you tell me about how much water a horse can hold? I would also expect that pounding a horse would probably reduce the amount of water it could hold.

For your edification, please Google “mixed metaphor”.

Old Country Boy on October 26, 2011 at 7:12 PM

The more corruput they are…..the more of YOUR money they demand.

In a sane world this friggin’ bought and paid for thief would be rotting behind bars.

Instead, a sympatico MSM actually gives him a forum AND cred.

Always amazing.

Tim_CA on October 26, 2011 at 7:47 PM

I dont recall the stats but from what I recall this batch of young people in the military are better educated better trained and of a higher economic group then ever before. Typical left notion that only STUPID/Poor people serve.

ColdWarrior57 on October 26, 2011 at 7:58 PM

Why ain’t THIS sumbich in jail?

deedtrader on October 26, 2011 at 8:04 PM

For your edification, please Google “mixed metaphor”.

Old Country Boy on October 26, 2011 at 7:12 PM

My favorite mixed metaphor came from AF Coach DeBerry after one game.

That boy was harder to catch than a greased chicken.

From my personal experience I have seen very few people that are unwilling to work hard make it past their first enlistment.

cobrakai99 on October 26, 2011 at 8:45 PM

Is rangel’s money included in this theft?

xler8bmw on October 26, 2011 at 9:55 PM

As with all Democrats, what spews from their pie holes doesn’t have to be even distantly related to truth. It just has to be spoken and the fluffers in the media will parrot it and present it as fact.

SKYFOX on October 27, 2011 at 6:35 AM

Rangel is such a disgrace, does anyone including those in his own little district believe this farce any longer? Can anyone be expected to? I’m just happy he is no longer in charge of the powerful Ways and Means Committee any longer. He is one of the most corrupt pols out there and the sooner he resigns or is driven from office the better.

Dollayo on October 27, 2011 at 7:01 AM